Mouse Traps with 3rd Graders

Mrs. Weikle’s class, with the help of Mr. Clark, visited the Makerspace for a STEM activity. They created Mouse Traps that contained at least one simple machine and one 3D shapes. Then they used Pic Collage to display their creations. Take look below!

Take a look at a few of their traps in action!

 Cross posted at Oak Grove Digital Archive.

Kicking Machine with a Tech Twist-VCEC15

kicking machine

Lynda Graves and I presented at the Virginia Children’s Engineering Convention. Here is our Kicking Machine presentation:

Kicking Machine Video from elemitrt on Vimeo.

Here are our handouts:
Design Brief

Cross posted at

Admin Retreat Presentations

I had the opportunity to present and co-present at the Admin Retreat this year on two topics: Augmented Reality and Engineering and Design Thinking.

Admin Retreat
Here are the presentations below:


And the handouts that go with them:

Augmented Reality

Engineering and Design Thinking

Presenting at Virginia Children’s Engineering Conference

I had the opportunity to give two different presentation at the Virginia Children’s Engineering Conference. I was lucky enough to team with three other fabulous individuals, Alisa Downey, Julie Mulvaney, and Meg Swecker. You can check out our presentations below.

Handout: STEMming Off Stories


The design briefs and examples that go with this presentation are located here: VCEC Conference Presentation Links

The Big Bad Wolf

Mrs. Downey’s and Mrs. Corbett’s class completed a S.T.E.A.M project centered on a beloved children’s story, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Mrs. Coffey and Mrs. Pettipiece helped too!

Video Trailer (Just a Tease)!

Longer video


After discussing and analyzing the story, and comparing and contrasting it to the real Three Little Pigs story, students spent the next week delving into the world of engineers, architects, construction workers, realtors, consumers, and presenters. Each group of students planned, drew blueprint, tested and revised a house for the Fourth Little Pig.  Each house was created to withstand gusts of wind from The Big Bad Wolf.  They even completed a purchase order and shopped on a budget for the materials to use to construct their house.  They also used the app Pic Collage to create a real estate listing to market their house to potential pig buyers.

To see their pic collages and read more about the project, please visit Mrs. Downey’s blog post about it! You can find it here.

Cross posted on the Oak Grove Digital Library.

STEM in 4th Grade Virginia Studies at Clearbrook

Students at Clearbrook in Mrs. Schlosser’s class participated in a STEM project to learn more about the Regions of Virginia.  Students were divided into groups and given boxes and various art supplies (paper, Q-tips, playdough, puff balls, yard, beads, and a few other supplies).  Using the materials they had and research materials (textbooks and various websites), their task was to create a Mystery box full of clues about the region of Virginia their group was assigned.

They needed to have at least 14 clues, including clues about products, industries, land forms, water features, animals, renewable and non-renewable resources. At least four of the items had to be 3-dimensional, and one clue could be a written word.

At the very end, students created a QR code to place on their box with the answer to the “Mystery Region.”  Other students can now use the clues in the box to guess what region the box represents, and then check their answer by scanning the QR code.  They also wrote each day in their journals to describe what they had learned during their work that day.

Not only did students learn about the Regions of Virginia with this project, they used the 21st Century Skills of Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Problem Solving.

I can’t take credit for writing this activity.  It was written by a group of us during a STEM committee meeting.  Here are the handouts if you want a look!

It’s a Mystery Design Brief

It’s a Mystery Student Checklist

It’s a Mystery Journal Prompt

Who’s New at the GeoZoo?

Students in Mrs. Sharp’s 5th Grade class created creatures using their geometry skills to populate “The Geo-zoo.”  Mrs. Sharp had done the activity years before using paper and shapes, but wanted to engage her students by using the iPads.  We quickly were able to transfer the activity to a digital one.

Last Year’s Paper Version

Digital Version

Thanks to the iPad apps Geoboard, Pic Collage, and Dropbox, students were able to complete a project based activity (that normally was done as a homework project) within one class period.  By the end of class time, Mrs. Sharp had a great understanding of her students’ strengths with Math SOL 5.13 (The student, using plane figures (square, rectangle, triangle, parallelogram, rhombus, and trapezoid), will develop definitions of these plane figures; and investigate and describe the results of combining and subdividing plane figures.)

Check out the process below:

The best part was that the students were completely engaged and absolutely loved their creations!  Many even posted them on their blogs :

Rock Star Laser Robot by Double O Cleo

The Triangle Vampire from by Minecraft02

Tari the Tri-con by I Love Lax

The Tri-Liger by Iron Claw

Here are few examples of their awesome work:

If you are interested in doing a similar activity with your class, here is our STEM (Children’s Engineering) design brief and a couple versions of rubrics.

Design Brief

Rubric 1

Rubric 2

Let me know how it goes! And…if you are at one of my schools, I’d love to come in to help! Ask me! :)